Buono: Quick-fix Tempura

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Hot and crisp kakiage-don mmm

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Old-school handwritten menu :)

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The suspiciously trippy-sounding umeshu…

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Tempura salt to cater to the different tastes – mountain pepper, matcha, and good ol’ fashion plain one

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Dessert which was mehhh – fruits from a can…

While staying in Nishi-Azabu and hankering after some crisply fried Tempura (but not willing to trudge all the way to Tenichi in Ginza for some Tempura lovin’), I read about a Tempura place in the ‘hood – Buono – which serves pretty decent Tempura at bargain prices. The chef at Buono is supposed to have amassed 39 years of experience in tempura kitchens, and opened this restaurant to serve top-quality tempura at accessible prices so that everyone can experience what REAL tempura should taste like. Sounds muy bueno to me! :)

It seems pretty weird for a tempura place to have an Italian-sounding name, but they do a pretty decent job here. I opted for the Kakiage lunch set (tempura fritters mixed with seafood and veggies), which comes with rice, miso soup and dessert.

The tempura was crisp without being overly greasy, and it had pretty interesting veggies mixed into the batter such as sweet potatoes and shiso leaf which provided a nice addition to all that batter and seafood. Portions are pretty huge here, and I had to make a Herculean effort to.get.everything.in.to.my.tummeh. *waddles out of the restaurant with Tempura twins in the tummy*

I think I ended up paying less than 1,000 JPY for a hearty tempura set-lunch, which is pretty decent lunch price for a restaurant in the Nishi-Azabu area. This place definitely doesn’t do delicate, exquisite-ly battered tempura which will leave you marveling at how something deep-fried can taste so airy and delectable. But it does provide quick-fix comfort tempura, which is perfect when you are pressed for time in Nishi-Azabu and want to pop in for a quick, hearty bite!

–Sulsuls

Wherefore art thou?

Buono (map here, ~10mins walk from Hiroo station)
4-10-3 Nishi-Azabu,
Tokyo Minato-ku

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Go forth, and Gogyo

One of the very first things I learnt upon moving to Tokyo – Ramen is a religion. There are streets dedicated to this joyous offering (seriously), so Do.Not.Fk.With.It. Repeat offenders will be prosecuted and not invited to lunch or dindins.

After trying all sorts of ramen – shio, shoyu, tonkatsu, tsukemen and many many more deliciousness – I’ve finally found one joint which hits the spot. Hits it  come night or day or when you are so sick with food poisoning that you have such vivid dreams of this ramen…and wake up countless times disappointed it was just a dream (true story while I was sick like a dog in Africa and survived on dried food only. If  you want instant detox, do India and Africa back-to-back. I’ve tried and tested it on your behalf.)

Anyhoo! MUST FOCUS ON ODE TO RAMEN4LIFE. So, thy name is Gogyo, one and only.

Gogyo’s signature is kogashi (burnt) miso and roasted soy-sauce soup. Burnt whaaaat? Yes siree, this burnt layer of delicious black oil hugs your noodles tight and hot from the top. The noodles are thin and springy (think Japanese spaghetti) and pretty much done just right. It comes with veggies too! Ok, not big leafy green ones but cabbages. Cabbage are pale and hard-faced cousins of them springy salad leaves, but they still count. Spoon all these into your mouth. Imagine an explosion of salty, fragrant burnt miso. Swimming in rich, hot, flavourful broth. With luscious al-dente noodles oozing flavour with each bite. Trust me, it’s solid black liquid gold whispering very delicious things inside your mouth…

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Black beauty in all its hot glory! It tastes much better than it looks..ramen got attacked before I could take a proper pic of it *sad face*

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Cause gyoza and ramen are BFFs. Fistful of juicy little dumplings. Served with a soy sauce dip with spicy yuzu-flavoured paste mmm

Oh! Gogyo does absolutely delish Tonkotsu ramen as well. I’m a recent convert of this porky soupy goodness, and the rich porky flavourful broth here comes with an added bonus of  burnt miso drizzled extravagantly on top. And cabbages and spring onions (yay, more greens kinda!) and little fish cake slices. And….the noodles are thicker and chubbier than the burnt-miso-roasted-soy-sauce ramen. I HEART FAT CHUBBY NOODLES! So yes, Tonkotsu ramen, you are my #1 lover at Gogyo.

My heart skips a beat just by looking at you Tonkotsu...

My heart skips a beat just looking at your milky way, Tonkotsu…

Lookie you, you oishii little ramen! I now see why I need to go for chopstick holding courses gah

If you are planning on getting your ramen fix post night shenanigans, remember it closes at 2:30am! I found out the hard way – when I was first convinced by my friend to trudge 20 mins to a fantastically hidden ramen joint (yep, this one) late one night, only to have them say  “chotto…” when we arrived i.e. GTFO. No Food for you (in very polite tones, of course). But I was back before they knew it! And that, is how this everlasting ramen love story began…

–Sulsuls

Wherefore art thou?
Gogyo
1-4-36 Nishi-Azabu, Minato-ku;
Tokyo, Japan
Tel: +81-(03) 5775-5566